TravelsinTaste.com recently had the pleasure of dining with Chef Eric Bauer at Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro. Situated inside the newly opened $1.8 billion Palazzo -- a Las Vegas hotel-casino-resort like no other -- Morels is the first of 14 restaurants to open in the resort, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. With Chef Bauer at its helm, how could it? After all, for the past nine years he has been a presence at several of the Four Seasons Resorts. Over dinner, he told us about his vision for Morels and shared some of the secrets behind his spectacular cuisine.
Chef Bauer's path to Vegas is a surprising one. A purveyor of his in California introduced him to the owners of Morels, which had a Los Angeles outpost in The Grove. He met them, did tastings for them and soon found himself unexpectedly bound for the desert. "I never thought I'd move to Vegas," he said, "but Vegas is the new culinary Mecca, so after I had seen the space it was a no-brainer. It was a beautiful space in the newest high-end hotel on the Strip." Thus the story begins.
For his menu, Chef Bauer sought inspiration within the restaurant's existing concept, which was and continues to be that of a French steakhouse and bistro. This was very important to him, as a lot of his menu is driven by the seasons. "I find it very important as a chef to use the ingredients in the season," Chef Bauer said. "On the other side, we want to be very approachable to people as far as price and quality. We have the same quality and consistency as the other chefs here. Everyone here does fantastic food. Our food is not different, but our price point is quite a bit different. We're a bit more approachable to the normal person."